The SK Group is speeding up global business expansion. According to the business community on Dec. 5, the number of overseas affiliates owned by the SK Group grew by a whopping 26 in the past year from 295 in the third quarter of last year to 321 in the third quarter of this year.
The group’s expansion in the memory chip sector is most noticeable. It recently turned two overseas units of SK Siltron, SK Siltron America and SK Siltron Japan, into its subsidiaries. The group also established SK Semiconductor Investments in Hong Kong in August.
The SK Group acquired a 51 percent stake in LG Siltron from LG Corp. last year and changed its name to SK Siltron. The company is considered one of the most successful investments made by the group. SK Siltron has seen its share value jump several folds over the past year. It posted 281.9 billion won (US$252.8 million) in cumulative operating profit until the third quarter of this year, more than double the 132.7 billion won (US$119 million) operating profit earned last year.
The SK Group jointly established foundry production factory Hystars Semiconductor in China. The group holds a 50.1 percent stake in Hystars Semiconductor and the market value amounts to approximately 82.7 billion won (US$74.12 million). It is also considering setting up joint ventures with foreign memory chip makers as it recently established SK Semiconductor Investments.
The group is rapidly expanding its operations in the biotech market as well. SK Biotek, a biologics contract manufacturing organization (CMO) under the SK Group, set up its U.S. subsidiary SK Biotek USA in January. SK Biotek bought a raw material medicine production facility in Ireland from multinational pharmaceutical firm Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMS) in June last year, promoting the bio sector as the group’s post-semiconductor growth engine.
NanoEnTek, an affiliate of the SK Group, founded NanoEntek Bio-Technology in charge of sales of medical devices and experimental equipment in Beijing, China, this year, playing a part in the group’s bio expansion strategy. As NanoEnTek has the nanoscale bio technology, it is expected to create a synergy with SK Biopharmaceuticals, a new medicine development subsidiary of the SK Group, in the future.
In addition, the SK Group is making an aggressive move in Vietnam. The group established SK Vietnam Investment, an investment subsidiary in Vietnam, in September, and acquired a 9.5 percent stake in Vietnamese food producer Masan Group. Making Masan Group as a stepping-stone, the SK Group is planning an acquisition and equity investment in Vietnamese energy companies such as Petro Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PVN) and Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical (BSR). SK Telink also founded SK Telink Vietnam in Vietnam in October to secure a local distribution network for used phone business.